Table Tennis Blog
Table Tennis Coaching in Schools
I think many under value the power of sport in schools especially minor sports such as Table Tennis.
Yes, education is very important but it’s not for everyone and if it wasn’t for sport inside schools we would not have some of the great sportsmen of the past and today. I went to a school in Camden Town and there was access to virtually every sport imaginable: football, Gym, basketball, Gymnastics, netball, athletics, swimming, cricket and table tennis.
Once I realised my passion was table tennis, I utilised the 3 tables permanently set up in a small gym area above the swimming pool. The first few years at the school, I struggled socially and academically but once I started playing table tennis, everything changed for the better. I began to focus more, I was driven, met new friends, developed a sense of belief, my grades began to go up, I had success for the first time and was recognised for it.
The PE teacher Mr Newman (a legend in my eyes) was a half decent lower level, local league player and he encouraged me to play as often as possible and to believe in my own ability. I went from turning up late to school most days to never being late and not missing any days (the fake “I’m not feeling well mum scenario”) were gone! I would go and practice my serve or play with friends; morning, lunch and after school.
Table tennis is unrecognised in terms of its powers to change and aid a young person’s life. But a charity (a few years back an organisation today) called Greenhouse Sports noticed the power of table tennis in schools and they invested in the sport around 14 years ago, via a gentleman called Michael DeGeorgio. Greenhouse have 12 maybe more full time table tennis programmes inside schools all over London. The programmes have thousands of kids playing table tennis and some competing at high national level. The programmes have full time coaches (sometimes assistant coaches also) and they are based inside deprived schools providing: before, during, lunch and after school coaching sessions, tournaments, access to better equipment and development.
Table tennis inside schools gives an opportunity to develop your character regardless of age, or ability. Its a tool hardly utilised and if we had a system which allows players to develop inside a school but quickly fed them into a mainstream table tennis club, I believe we would see a huge difference in the sport and children’s attitudes and behaviours.
Look at football as a sport, most kids play during school and there is often a coaching session or structure at schools all over England which leads to clubs and possible professional play.
We need to develop systems that link clubs to schools throughout the nation and provide a coaching service that enables a simple but clear pathway.
Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)
Coach Me Table Tennis
FB: Eli Baraty